Chapter SevenRemuneration

Around 170 instruments determine remuneration for the Public Service, and a further 100 apply to the rest of the NSW public sector. Remuneration data is reported as the total annual base salary (full-time equivalent) and excludes other payments, such as allowances, penalty rates, and superannuation. Data in this chapter is reported for non-casual employees only. Many employees in the NSW public sector are paid within a salary band or range which includes an annual increment subject to meeting certain performance standards.

Median remuneration

$83,941 +2.1% vs. 2016

$83,689 +2.5% vs. 2016

All employees
$83,689 +2.5% vs. 2016

Median remuneration for non-casual employees in the NSW public sector was $83,689 in 2017, an increase of 2.5% on what it was in 2016. While this increase was in line with NSW government wages policy (capping annual increases at 2.5%)1, it outpaced increases in Sydney’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) (2.2%)2 and full-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings across Australia (1.8%)3. Figure 7.1 shows how median salary in the NSW public sector has increased at a steady rate over the past decade.


Figure 7.24 demonstrates how the growth in wages in the NSW public sector compared to the private sector and the CPI over the past ten years. When viewed as a compounding increase, the relative rise in the sector outpaced the private sector slightly whilst being well ahead of the Sydney CPI.


Within the Government Sector, the service with the highest median remuneration in 2017 was the Teaching Service (see Table 7.1). In 2017, 41.8% of non-casual school teachers (29,360 headcount) were paid at the top of their automatically advancing salary band structure ($97,853), corresponding to the high median tenure of these school teachers (19.4 years).

In contrast, other Crown services had the lowest median remuneration in 2017, consistent with previous years. School Support Staff constituted 48.8% of the other Crown services cohort and had a median salary of $47,716.

The large increase in median remuneration for the Transport Service from 2016 to 2017 was partly due to improved data quality, but also to an increase in the number of senior staff in this service relative to those people at lower grades. The NSW Police Force likewise experienced an increase larger than 2.5% in median remuneration (4.9%), due primarily to a large cohort of Police Officers in the middle of the service’s salary band distribution having progressed from the top of one salary band to the bottom of the next. Due to the variable structure of their salary bands, this process is not unusual and has impacted previous years’ median salary increases for the NSW Police Force.

Table 7.1: Median remuneration by service, at census date, 2017

Service 2016 2017 % change
Public Service $81,894 $83,941 2.5%
NSW Health Service $80,605 $82,573 2.4%
NSW Police Force $83,507 $87,591 4.9%
Teaching Service $95,466 $97,853 2.5%
Transport Services $69,406 $75,771 9.2%
Other Crown Services $55,894 $57,286 2.5%
Total Government Sector $81,649 $83,689 2.5%
State Owned Corporations $90,234 $93,627 3.8%
External to Government Sector $113,878 $124,022 8.9%
Total Public Sector $81,649 $83,689 2.5%

Annual gender pay gap

The NSW public sector gender pay gap is the lowest ever recorded at $252 in 2017. Median remuneration of females was only 0.3% lower than that of males, down 0.4 percentage points from 2016, and down 4.8 percentage points from a decade ago when it was 5.1% (see Figure 7.3). The median salary for females grew by 2.5% this year compared to only 2.1% for males, further indicating progress towards closing the gap. Nevertheless, as demonstrated in Figure 7.4, the size of the gender pay gap differed substantially between services.


Within the Government Sector, other Crown services had the largest gender pay gap, widening by 1 percentage point from 2016 to 2017 (see Figure 7.5). The increase can be attributed to an increasing over-representation of females in School Support Staff roles (48.8% of other Crown services employees), which are typically lower paid roles.

In contrast, the median remuneration for women in the Transport Service of NSW is 24.2% higher than for men. This is due to male employees being over-represented in the Automobile, Bus and Rail Drivers (3,696 headcount), Automotive Electricians and Mechanics (295 headcount) and Truck Drivers (196 headcount) occupations. These roles made up 30.4% of the non-casual workforce and had a median remuneration substantially lower than the NSW public sector.

Of particular note, the gender pay gap in the NSW Police Force decreased 4.6 percentage points from 2016 (when it was 7.3%) to 2017 (2.7%). This was predominantly driven by an increase in the median remuneration of unsworn female employees in the NSW Police Force.


Of the portion of the workforce with a median salary below $60,154 per annum, 69.6% were female. In comparison, females constituted only 37.4% of the Premier’s Priority senior leadership cohort, which encapsulates the highest pay bands in this sector. On a more positive note, female representation in the senior leadership cohort was up 1.3 percentage points from 2016. As can be seen in Figure 7.65, since the introduction of the GSE Act, the proportion of women in the higher salary bands has been converging closer to 50%.


End Notes

1 - NSW Public Sector Wages Policy 2011
2 - 6401.0 - Consumer Price Index, Australia, Jun 2017. Capital Cities Comparison. Australian Bureau of Statistics
3 - 6302.0 - Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, May 2017. Australian Bureau of Statistics
4 - Figure 7.2 converts each series values as an index number. This is done by dividing the value for each year for each series by the 2007 year, this new value is then multiplied by 100. Therefore, each data series has been based at 100 for the year 2007. Each block of the bar graph represents the index increase for that year. I.e. the 2008 value is how much the index series has increased in that year.
5 - 2014 Remuneration values have been adjusted to 2017 salaries